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Being Frugal and still have fun!

Last month, my family went and bought Season passes to Walt Disney World.

WHOA! What! Wait a minute! I know I have been posting on being frugal and then I just went and dropped a ton of money on Disney passes! How can that be? Well let me tell ya!

Back in the good ol’ days I could swipe a credit card and buy our passes and not even blink about. No biggie right? I’ll just pay it later or should I say Hubby would. Well then the economy apocalypse came and I didn’t have credit cards to rely on. All I had was cash. I knew our Disney days were numbered. I had been a passholder religiously since I was 13 years old. What was I going to do?

I ran across this website called Couponing to Disney  and I started reading about her ways of saving for Disney vacations. I thought I can do this. So the year my son was born I started a Disney fund. I would put all of the change we got when we would pay for something in a container. I also would have yard sales and sell items on craigslist. When those items sold, it went into the Disney fund. It took me a year to save up for passes and a weekend getaway. As soon as I cashed in a bought the passes we would start our next fund. Now the following year we got lucky, one of hubby’s distributors real screwed up an order of cabinet doors. Hubby sold the customer on them anyway but complained to the manufacturer. The manufacturer then issued us a refund and it was just enough to cover Disney passes.

This pass year I started adding more ways to save. When I would get gift cards, instead of going on a shopping spree for more things I didn’t need I put them toward groceries and put cash to equal the same amount into the fund. I also started using paid email websites to earn a little here and there. Any mail in rebates went in along with any random cash settlement checks from a lawsuit here and there. You know $2-$3 will add up over time. By the time Christmas and my birthday came around, I was only $300 short so hubby said take the cash as you present.

We also went out on a limb and planned a 5 day vacation. The kids and I pulled all of our gift cards together and have saved about $900 towards it. That is just from Christmas, birthdays and an awesome site called Mypoints.

This website gives you points per dollar you spend at well know retailers when you shop online. I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year and was able to rake up 15,000 points. Enough for about a $100 Walmart gift card.

These are just a few ways to be frugal but still have fun.

Our vacation is coming up in a week and 2 days (but who’s counting?). If you want to follow our trip, you can follow me on twitter  or instagram.

The price of cereal! Outrageous!!!

Yesterday I decided that I wasn’t going to cook. We had leftovers and plenty of things to eat. We little did I know that my kids were going to devourer a brand new box of Frosted Flakes that I just bought yesterday morning!

1 box of cereal + 4 kids= EMPTY

That was $5 they just gobbled up in one meal! I was shocked!

Shocked that my kids eat like they haven’t had a meal all day!

Shocked that my $5 was gone so quickly!

Shocked that I spent $5 on ONE box of Frosted Flakes, which if you ask me is pure sugar!

When I was venting to hubby, he says well use coupons! Seriously did you just say that to me!!! I questioned his sanity at this point, since he tells everyone I am the coupon queen. If looks could kill, Hmph!

I then informed him that a coupon that says a dollar off of 2 or 3, which seems to be the new cereal trend, isn’t saving a whole lot at $5 a box!!!

Even with BOGO sales it is still expensive when a whole box is gone in ONE meal!

Then it made me question why are we buying $5 boxes of sugar? Why am I buying them if they eat it in one sitting? Because if I don’t then I have to listen to complaining! I personally HATE cereal, always have and always will. But my hubby and kids~ obsessed and will eat 3 times a day if I let them.

So that is why I chose to keep buying $5 boxes of sugar.

And will continue to complain when it last 5 seconds after hitting my front door.

And complain about the coupons sucking.

But the prices of cereal are still OUTRAGEOUS!!

 

Couponing for giving

A  New Year’s Resolution of mine this year is to give back more. I am doing this in honor of my Grandpa. He would work his butt off to make ends meet, but if you needed something, anything he would find a way to get it for you. He was always helping out family and friends. This is why he had so much debt.

So this year I am striving to do the same. But I am doing it as cheaply as possible.

Now I have some friends that have told me it doesn’t count as me giving to charity because I didn’t pay for it or I paid very little. Some look at couponing like I am ripping off the stores. Bottom line is the stores get their money back plus an additional 8 cents for each coupon. And I do give, maybe not my money but I give a lot of my time looking for the coupons, finding the deals and driving to the store to get them.

I am not saying everyone has to go all extreme. But when your clipping out coupons for your own shopping is it too much to get the coupon for the free dog or cat food and pick it up with your weekly shopping? Animal shelters are always in need of pet food. And even one bag would help tremendously!

Recently I had the opportunity to pick up 12 jars of baby food that were on sale. They were Buy one Get one (BOGO). And with my 3 $1 off of 3 jars coupons, 12 jars only cost me $0.42. I am sure a local food shelter or a shelter for single moms would appreciate even just those 12 jars or even 3 jars.

I am constantly looking for great deals on razors, shaving cream and toilet paper. These are things can be used at my home but also given to homeless or abused woman shelters.

Plus my children get the lesson of giving. When we go shopping and they see me pick up a toy, their first reaction is to get excited, but when I explain why we are getting that toy, they get even more excited to help others.

So thinking of all the good you could do with one coupon does it seem like too much?

Shopping to feed the tribe…How do I do it?

So we are awful with staying on a budget, but when it comes to food, I think I am finally getting the hang of it. For the longest time I would shop at just Walmart, then all those reports came out about the milk and what not so I quit. And then I was shopping at Sweetbay, but lets just say I found something in my pork chops one day that just totally grossed me out. So I shopped at Publix for a couple of years. But they are the most expensive grocery store in our area. Now I shop for the majority of my groceries at BJ Wholesale.

Another thing I do is Coupon! Yes, I am one of those people with the notebook trying to score cheap to free items. But in this economy and with a large family you have to stretch your money in all places. Couponing is amazing. No, I don’t go all Extreme Couponing and buy 200 bottles of mustard; just to realize we don’t eat mustard. No, I can’t get my total down from $2000 to a penny. But what little bit I use saves me in the long run and over time adds up to be huge.

But how do I combine my coupons with a wholesale club?

BJ’s accepts coupons! They even mail you out store coupons every month to use with manufacture coupons. Plus at the store they have more store coupons that get switched out every 2 weeks. Saving you even more. I also upgraded my membership to the plus which allows me to receive 2% back on certain purchases~ food one of them. Every 6 months I receive a gift card with my rebate. And with the amount I spend I actually get my membership free with the 2% back.

Now the upfront out of pocket may seem crazy, $10.99 for 4 packages of bacon. But when you break it down. The best deal I can get from the local stores is 3 for $10 and this is rare. For an extra $0.99 I got that 4th package of bacon. Enough for a month or more depending on our bacon cravings. Milk, eggs, butter and oj are a few items that are always cheaper and they sometimes put coupons out for those items also. Very rare with a regular grocery store. They have an amazing organic selections. I have organic spices for $3-5 for a huge bottle!

Non-food items are also a better deal. I originally started shopping here because we had just added little man to our tribe and was looking for diaper deals. Every month you can count on some kind of diaper coupons in the monthly savings book. And a lot of the diaper boxes have manufacture coupons that you can use combined for the next time. I always get about $5 to $10 off a big box of diapers which is priced about the same as a smaller box at Walmart. My printer ink is a much better deal also instead of the 2 for $70; I am getting 3 for $70. They just started offering Forever Stamps at a discounted rate. I just recently started filling up the gas tank when I am there because again $0.30-$0.50 cheaper. And propane tanks are $5 cheaper for a refill.

More money out of pocket upfront but the items last longer and break down to be cheaper. Why am I going to go the store to buy toilet paper every month and pay a $1 more a package, when I can buy the industrial package store it, pay less in the long run and not have to buy more for a few months?